This article appears in the Fall 2022 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.
Sports, like almost everything in our world, change.
For almost seven decades, FCA has had a vibrant ministry on school campuses in the United States. But the landscape of sports is changing. Today, most young athletes both inside and outside the U.S. play off-campus sports through clubs and leagues. Sports and athletic programs have grown to include coaches and athletes who compete outdoors, and those whose playing field involves not only lanes and courts but dirt hills and waves.
Athletes in record numbers now participate in non-traditional sports that compete outside of the traditional campus setting. One of the most untapped opportunities to serve the underserved coaches and athletes lies within all ability. To remain present, relevant and impactful for the next 70 years, FCA recently organized sport ministry into eight sport environments. It’s our next step in pursuing our mission to reach every coach and athlete for Christ.
Q. What’s a sport environment?
A grouping of coaches and athletes with similar cultures and competitions.
Q. What kind of ministry is taking place in these sport environments?
FCA is organizing and strategizing about how to serve coaches and athletes in each of these eight environments through 1-on-1s, Huddles, camps and other events. Resources unique to the environments, like the Outdoors Bible or Youversion Bible App plans for motocross athletes, are also rolling out.
Q. What are FCA’s sport environments?
Action sports are known for their individuality and risk-taking. They include BMX, kitesurfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing and wakeboarding. Organized competition occurs at all levels, although a greater number of athletes participate individually or within a community.
All Ability refers to coaches and athletes who compete with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. “All ability” means the inclusion of all categories within the disability community, and it emphasizes the biblical message of in God we are all able.
Campus sports are scholastic sports where coaches and athletes typically represent their schools as they compete. Campus sports take place around the world in public schools, private schools, charter schools, boarding schools and college preparatory schools. The majority of the population passes through elementary school, middle school, high school and college.
Club sports are off-campus sports for coaches and athletes who aspire to reach expert levels and make significant financial, travel and time investments. In a typical club experience, athletes invest in multiple practices per week and travel to compete with teams from other clubs. FCA Sports Clubs, directed by FCA staff, create catalytic discipleship experiences for coaches and athletes.
League sports are off-campus, developmental sports for coaches and athletes offering moderate time, travel and financial investments. Leagues are typically self-contained, and teams play one another within the same league. FCA Sports Leagues, directed by FCA staff, create catalytic discipleship experiences for coaches and athletes. FCA Sports Leagues often partner with local churches to mobilize empowered volunteers to serve as disciple-making coaches.
Motorsports are, at their simplest form, sports with motors. They include aircrafts, snowmobiles, snowbikes and watercrafts. Motorsports include 2-wheel sports such as cross country, EnduroCross, freestyle, motocross and road racing. The sport environment also includes 4-wheel sports like ATVs, drag racing, Formula 1 racing, Grand Prix motorcycle racing, IndyCar, monster trucks, NASCAR, rally cars, side-by-sides and sprint cars. Motorsports athletes generally live out their racing passion throughout their lifetimes. Organized competition is popular, but there are also families who participate in the sport as a hobby.
Outdoors refers to sports including marksmanship (archery, rifle and shotgun), fishing, hunting, canoe/kayaking and equestrian. In addition to ministering to the coaches and athletes who compete in outdoor sports, FCA creates outdoor sporting experiences for donors, staff, and coaches and athletes of all sports. Outdoors offers someone the opportunity to grow spiritually as they experience the beauty of God’s creation.
Pro and Elite
Pro and elite sports are the apex of the sporting world. Most coaches and athletes are paid to play, and many of them represent their countries in competition. Pro and elite coaches and athletes receive high-profile attention within mainstream culture. These competitors carry unique mindsets, lifestyles and schedules compared to others who don’t play at this level. For these athletes and coaches, sport is a business.
Q. How can I learn more and/or get involved?
To learn more about how your local FCA is engaging the eight sport environments or to get involved, contact your local area representative. Find them at links.fca.org/find.
In 1992, coaches and athletes took the field as FCA for the first time through a lacrosse team. Since that time, competitors have continued to compete as FCA. Many staff have led FCA teams and organized clubs and leagues. Several years ago, God began opening doors for FCA to grow its off-campus ministry and to organize official clubs and leagues all over the world. With prayer and discernment, we followed the Lord’s leading. During Realtime 2022, we officially launched FCA Sports.
FCA Sports provides FCA staff with everything they need for coaches and athletes to compete as FCA in clubs and leagues that the ministry runs and operates. As coaches and athletes compete, they go on a spiritual journey designed to help them become disciples who make disciples, which in turn, transforms both families and communities. It’s competitive. It’s Christ-centered. It’s already taking off.